Pujols sets Spring Training contract deadline

Pujols sets Spring Training contract deadline

Pujols sets Spring Training contract deadline
ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols has no interest in continuing contract negotiations once Spring Training starts, general manager John Mozeliak told reporters on Saturday.

Mozeliak said that he had been told by Danny Lozano, Pujols' agent, that there is a deadline for getting a new deal done -- and that it is not Opening Day, but the beginning of Spring Training. Cardinals infielders and outfielders report to Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 18.

"We have been notified that Spring Training would be the deadline," Mozeliak said.

Addressing reporters at the club's annual Winter Warm-Up fan festival, Mozeliak declined to give any further specifics regarding negotiations. Pujols is entering the final year of a contract that will end up paying him $111 million over eight seasons.

"The way I need to answer this, just to be consistent with ownership, management, the player and the agent, is really we don't want to sit here and handicap or guess or give any type of gut feels where this thing is headed right now," Mozeliak said. "I think in respect to that, that's really all I can add to the topic at this time. Hopefully in the near future it's something we can talk more about, but right now I'm not prepared [to say more]."

Bill DeWitt Jr., the Cardinals' primary owner, recently told FOXSports.com that he was "hopeful" of getting a deal done, but Mozeliak would not even discuss a general level of optimism or pessimism regarding talks with Lozano.

"I don't think it's going to benefit anybody for me to weigh in at this point," he said. "Clearly, what was said was said. But I think from my standpoint, I'm just going to stay agnostic on this and just continue to work."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.